For Women’s Equality Day Thursday, Los Angeles Council President Nury Martinez launched a website and toolkit to advise Los Angeles businesses on how to create a more “mom-friendly” workplace.

“Women are bearing the brunt of the COVID-19 crisis as they became full-time teachers and caregivers on top of their daily responsibilities,” Martinez said.

“Many women left the workforce and are still struggling to reenter as our country returns to normal. We need businesses to be our partner in the return to work: not create obstacles. The post-COVID job market needs to bring women, especially moms, to the table — not lock them out of the room.”

Martinez noted that unemployment rates for women have skyrocketed over the last 18 months, with women leaving the workforce to take care of children and for mental health reasons. In December 2019, women’s unemployment levels were at a low of 3.7% and rose to 16% in April 2020, until decreasing to 6.7% in December 2020, still nearly double the levels a year earlier.

About 2.2 million women left the workforce from October 2019 to October 2020, and mothers were three times as likely as fathers to be the primary parent in charge of housework and childcare, according to Martinez.

WomenAtWorkLA.com was created with help from a report by the Chief Legislative Analyst on the impact that the pandemic had on working women. It provides recommendations to private companies on how they can support women reentering the workforce, including:

— flexible work options;

— support for childcare;

— a living wage;

— adequate time to recover after childbirth or pregnancy loss.

Martinez’s office noted that the recommendations in the report are already provided to city employees. On Feb. 24, the Los Angeles City Council implemented paid parental leave to all civilian city employees through June 30, 2025. The ordinance gives up to six weeks of 100% paid time off for pregnancy disability or to bond with a new child, including foster children and adopted children.

“We’ve got to stop continuing to punish women for having children and wanting to be caregivers and taking care of their loved ones,” Martinez said before the City Council’s vote.

“There is an unsaid assumption that women will work through maternity leave, and we’re expected to give birth and get back to work right away and that’s just absolutely ridiculous and if we want to be able to promote women in the workplace in the city of L.A., if we want more women leading departments, if we want more women making sure they’re driving some of these policies that are fair and equitable, then we need to recognize the importance of this policy,” Martinez said.

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